There are some reasons that will cause your application to be denied or even permanently denied, with no possibility of a second chance.
Length of Residence
You could disqualify for citizenship if you fall short of the continuous residence and/or physical presence requirements. To understand these requirements in detail, please review conditions for continuous residence.
You could also be denied citizenship permanently if you fail to pay taxes and cannot prove to the USCIS that you are in the process of dealing with this issue. There is an option to postpone your entire tax debt and repay it in the course of several years – in such a case it will not affect your application for US citizenship. For more information please review section Taxes.
False Statements / Lies
You could also be denied citizenship, even permanently, for lying or making false statements, even if the errors are non-intentional, so it is very important that all of your answers are truthful and accurate. You will also be turned down if USCIS finds out that you have lied in the past in order to get immigration benefits.
Felonies and Misdemeanors
If you ever have been charged with murder or an aggravated felony, including rape, sexual abuse of children, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, or fraud of certain dimensions, the USCIS will most likely deny your application permanently. The USCIS runs a criminal background check for all citizenship applications. They are likely to find all of your convictions, even in foreign countries, so don’t think you can hide anything.
Other Types of Convictions
There are other types of crime and convictions that may result in a temporary bar to receiving US citizenship (e.g., prostitution, solicitation, drug possession, and minor forms of fraud.) This means that the clock for the residence requirement restarts on the date when the foreign national committed the crime. In most cases, you will need to wait for five years after the date of the crime before applying for citizenship, or three years in some situations. Any crime for which you spent 180 days or more in jail will result in a temporary bar. Also, any combination of two or more crimes that resulted in a total prison sentence of five years or more will result in a temporary bar.
The best way to avoid denial is to discuss your situation with our immigration specialist or with an immigration lawyer prior to submitting your application for US citizenship. If you cannot afford paid attorney services, we will try to help you to find a pro bono lawyer. Even if you have some issues, it does not necessarily mean that you will be permanently denied citizenship.
In case your application was denied, you will receive a written denial notice within 120 days of the initial US citizenship test. In this case, we may help you to appeal the decision and attend the hearing with a USCIS officer. In this case you need to fill out form N-336 and contact us ASAP, but not later than 10 days from the receipt of your denial letter, as we will need about two weeks to help you find an attorney or collect additional evidence to support your appeal.
If you ever have been arrested or involved in a crime without an arrest, you should consult with us or seek the advice of an immigration lawyer before filling out an N-400 form and applying for citizenship. Even if your records were requested to be sealed or you case was dismissed, you must specify the details of your arrest. You should not make false statements on the application. You could lose your citizenship if the falsehood is eventually discovered.
Please contact us if you are experiencing any of these circumstances:
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